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May 5, 2010
Gabriel House allows ministry to pregnant women to increase dramatically
By Julie Filby
Since the Gabriel Project opened the Gabriel House last October, the number of mothers-in-need served by the ministry has skyrocketed. The new headquarters allowed the pro-life apostolate to serve more than 350 pregnant women in its first five months of operation—up from an annual average of 80 women in the past.
“This was an exciting year for the Gabriel Project,” said Mimi Eckstein, director of the Respect Life Office. “The house is enhancing the effectiveness of the program by establishing an official ‘home’ for the work of the project.”
From the time it was formally established in the Denver Archdiocese in 2001 until the house opened in late October, the ministry operated out the Respect Life Office at the John Paul II Center in south Denver and volunteers were coordinated at a parish level.
With no central location, baby items often overwhelmed the storage space at the Respect Life Office. It was also challenging for volunteers to find secure locations to meet with mothers.
“The house provides a warm, safe place to meet,” Eckstein said. “It serves as a dedicated gathering place for education, training and support for the women being served and its volunteers.”
The house, at 1341 Oneida St. adjacent to St. James Parish, is staffed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings to provide spiritual, emotional and material support. With the addition of the house, they are not only serving more individuals but also an expanded population.
“We’re seeing families who have older children as well,” Eckstein said. “So our needs have expanded—we need donations of larger-sized clothes and diapers in addition to newborn items.”
The house is in the Montclair neighborhood, which is home to an increasing Hispanic population. As a result they are serving more Spanish-speaking families. Currently they have five bilingual volunteers, and parenting classes offered in both English and Spanish.
“The bilingual volunteers have been a huge help to us,” she said. “But we need more.”
The Gabriel Project has about 160 volunteers in more than 30 parishes in the archdiocese. While training and education are based on Catholic teachings, support is provided to women of all faiths. The ministry is dependent on volunteers and donations.
“The ministry has a proven record of helping to prevent abortions,” Eckstein said. “And it enables concerned Catholics to support mothers in crisis pregnancies in the very proactive way.”
Annual Pro-Life Mother’s Day Collection
Year for Priests Pro-Life Prayer Vigil
Day of Prayer and Recollection (talks, Mass, Scriptural rosary, confession)
Gabriel Project Training